This past Saturday the Town of Plattekill held their annual Memorial Day ceremony. The parade stepped off from the town hall and went down Route 32 to the Veterans Park.
Deputy Supervisor Dean DePew, this year’s Master of Ceremonies, welcomed everyone to the event.
“I am honored to be speaking with you today on such an important occasion,” he said. “We’re here today to honor our service members and to remember the sacrifices they made for our country, their achievements, their courage and dedication and say thank you for their sacrifices. We stand in the midst of Patriots and the families and friends of those who have nobly served. Our gathering is just a small spark of a flame of pride that burns across the nation every day. It’s not a lot, but it is a small way we can honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live in freedom.”
USMC Col. Stuart C. Smith Jr had all of the Veterans in attendance come forward to form a circle and had a folded U.S. flag passed from one to the other. The last Veteran then handed the flag to Smith, who assisted in raising it up the flagpole as Kim Rosenmeier sang the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’
DePew offered an invocation.
“Please bless all those who have come before us and given the ultimate sacrifice. Please bless their families and the generations that have been affected by their dedication, their courage, their pride and the respect to us Americans who live here on this soil,” he said. “Dear Lord, I further ask that you give your blessings to all that serve in uniform for the United States of America.”
Three wreaths were then placed at the Veterans monument under the direction of USMC Neal Peets, followed by a moment of silent prayer, the ringing of the bell and the playing of Taps by Jim Farinelli, Commander HV Submarines.
DePew introduced guest speaker Mark Cozzupoli, Director of the Veteran Services Agency for Ulster County. He said there are many, “who have had to bear the brunt of the loss of a loved one who did what they had to do and wanted to serve and proudly served and fought for the brothers and sisters alongside of them and for their families at home. So many of our families out there are hurt and still are; it’s a lot less now, our killed in action are a lot less then they were back in the time of the Revolution and WWII but it still happens. We must still remember that there are those out there who are still suffering all through this weekend, through this day and every year.”
Cozzupoli said those who fought and died did so that we can live happy and free lives, “but just make sure that you are paying homage to those who fought for your right to do so.”
DePew introduced the 2023 Grand Marshal, Ulster County Sheriff and USMC Juan Figueroa. He said this year marks his 40th anniversary since joining the Marine Corps. He said Memorial Day is a special day for Veterans and to remember those who died in the service of our country.
“Because of them we have our rights and our freedoms, so God bless our Veterans, God bless all of our first responders, and I implore those who have jobs to give Veterans that you hire a Veteran,” Figueroa said. “That is something I do every single day because without Veterans we wouldn’t have our freedoms that we have. God bless America and thank you to the town of Plattekill Veterans Committee and thank you for the honor of being the Grand Marshal this year.”
In closing, DePew said he was humbled by the gathering for this years Memorial Day service.
“I encourage everyone to take a walk through our Veterans Park and remember how our fellow citizens live throughout eternity by remembering their names and finding out a little bit about them and talking about them and sharing something that we know about them,” he said. “Thank you, and I wish you all well and God bless America and God bless our troops.”